By winning its jamboree and Week 1 games, Scotlandville High School started reversing its football fortunes.
Why settle for a turnaround season when turning things upside down is an option?
The Class 5A Hornets used big plays and a stingy defense to notch a surprising 29-6 victory over fourth-ranked Parkview Baptist, of Class 3A, Friday night at PBS.
An 82-yard Kimani Smith-to-Cevon Cage pass play and a 95-yard kickoff return by Kajandre Domino helped propel Scotlandville to its biggest win since the football program was resurrected more than a decade ago.
“We knew it was going to be a tough, physical game,” Scotlandville coach Ken Hilton said. “Fortunately, we were able to make some plays. In the second half, the tide turned a little and we experienced adversity.
“But we still managed to score on them again. In 13 years, this is the biggest win. I’m so proud of these kids.”
Smith finished 7-for-16 with 222 passing yards and two touchdowns. Cage had two catches for 101 yards and two TDs for the Hornets (2-0). Domino had 51 receiving yards and the kick return for a TD. Scotlandville also got a 20-yard interception return for a TD by Rayven Gremillion.
“I just tried to step up for my team when they needed me,” Cage said. “Kimani threw the ball right to me and trusted me to make the plays.”
The Hornets defense limited Parkview’s option attack to just 122 rushing yards. Hezekiah Randolph finished with 93 yards on 24 carries. Cole Wilson was 7-for-19 for 86 yards. It was the second straight loss to a 5A team for Parkview (0-2).
“They’ve got a good football team and they’re well coached,” PBS coach Kenny Guillot said. “They just got after us pretty good and bottled us up.
“It was like a heavyweight fight in the trenches. They’d win some and we’d win some. The difference was they made the big plays.”
Both teams had first-half issues with high snaps that sailed over the heads of every player in the backfield. It happened five times to Parkview, effectively short-circuiting the Eagles’ offense. One of the misdirected snaps also led to a Scotlandville fumble recovered by PBS’ Adam Smith.
Another high snap led directly to the game’s first score. The ball rolled into the end zone and Scotlandville collected a safety and 2-0 lead with 1:46 left in the first quarter.
After receiving the ensuing free kick, Smith and Scotlandville offense got on a roll. The Hornets marched 62 yards in nine plays.
Smith, who completed 6 of 12 first-half passes for 184 yards and two TDs, had three completions of 15 or more yards before connecting with Cage for a 19-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but the Hornets led 8-0 with 11:52 to go in the half.
A PBS punt set the stage for the second Scotlandville TD. This time, Smith hit Cage in stride on a crossing pattern. Cage sprinted across the field and down the sideline to complete an 82-yard scoring play. Smith ran for the two-point conversion, making it 18-0 with 7:12 left in the half.
The start of the second half included another big play. Domino took the opening kickoff and returned it 95 yards for a TD, making it a 22-0 game. The Eagles got the next notable play, an interception by Manuel Mukes at the SHS 26. But the Eagles fumbled the ball four plays later and Scotlandville’s Dondre Dobbins recovered.
Parkview got its offense going late in the third quarter. The Eagles drove 75 yards in 10 plays, taking 4:33 off the clock. Wilson scored on a 1-yard run with 9.6 seconds remaining in the quarter. The two-point PAT pass failed, leaving Scotlandville with a 22-6 lead.
The Eagles then recovered an onside kick, but couldn’t capitalize, eventually punting after garnering an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Gremillion capped off the night for Scotlandville, intercepting a Wilson pass and returning it 20 yards for a TD with 5:25 to go in the game.
“This one is sweet,” Hilton said.